Review: Does Bronx Bagels Really Have New York Bagels in Georgia?

As someone who was born and raised in New York, I often miss some of the food with which I grew up during my formative years — whether it is in the form of Kosher delicatessen or pizza

Review: Does Bronx Bagels Really Have New York Bagels in Georgia?

…and bialys and bagels are no exception to the foods which I miss ever since I moved to Georgia years ago — so when I heard about an establishment located in Alpharetta which purports to create and sell bagels reminiscent of those in New York, I wanted to try them and put them to a taste test.

“Each and every day BB’s Bagels bakes Authentic, New York, Hand-Rolled, Kettle-Boiled Bagels”, according to the official Internet web site of Bronx Bagels — which is further bolstered by the explanation as to why their bagels are water-boiled: “While steaming might be easier and cheaper, there is simply no substitute for bathing the raw bagels in a boiling kettle of water before baking. This contributes to the shiny, golden, chewy crust that NY Bagels are famous for.”

Aside from the poor grammar, could I have found my utopia of bagels reminiscent of those which I remember? There was only one way to find out — but the lone location of Bronx Bagels is at least 32 miles away from where I am based…

…and I finally had an opportunity recently to sample them, as I was passing by near the establishment recently.

The First Visit to Bronx Bagels

Bronx Bagels

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

A small mirrored building which seems to be slightly larger than a double-wide trailer home and is reminiscent of a classic diner from the 1950s, the exterior of Bronx Bagels is adorned with shrubs and bushes with pink roses blooming in the spring air — and as the dining area was closed due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, picking up food was generally the only option.

No mechanism exists for ordering food via the official Internet web site of Bronx Bagels; and calling ahead via telephone proved to be unsuccessful, as the line was constantly too busy to get through. I therefore had to wait in the line outside in order ot place my order…

…but unlike a traditional bagel shop in which one can simply walk in, place an order, and leave with a bag of bagels, I had to arrive at a small window through which all orders were taken. I asked for the hottest of three different bagels: plain, pumpernickel, and everything — as well as a bialy. “We only have bialys on weekends” was the reply from behind the window.

The wait from arrival to receiving my order was approximately 30 minutes or so — and when I finally received it, I returned to my vehicle and tore open the white bag to create a makeshift plate.

Bronx Bagels

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

The bagels were rather large — approximately the size of an authentic bagel from New York — but they were cold. Not room temperature. Cold.

So much for their “hottest” bagels.

I ordered a plain bagel because I wanted to see how the basic bagel fared.

Bronx Bagels

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

One note of immediate concern for me pertaining to the plain bagel is a discolored streak located near the center hole of the bagel which seemed to resemble the color of mold. I tore that part away and disposed of it.

I then tore open the bagel.

Bronx Bagels

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

The bagel was approximately the size of my hand; and it tore apart in a way similar to that of an authentic bagel from New York. With its golden crust and distinctively dense chewy inside, the taste of the bagel did remind me of a fresh authentic bagel from New York — albeit one which has been out of the oven for several hours and slightly refrigerated.

Bronx Bagels

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

The pumpernickel bagel contained caraway seeds, which was a nice surprise. I like caraway seeds, as they add little bursts of flavor with each bite. As with the plain bagel, the pumpernickel bagel was fresh and tasty with a similar texture — slightly crispy on the outside and nicely chewy and dense on the inside — but it was also cold, which is unfortunate, as pumpernickel is one of my favorite flavors of bread or bagels.

Bronx Bagels

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

The everything bagel had a nice blend of seeds and spices — which included poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, garlic, and just the right amount of salt — but despite its similar textures to the other bagels and fresh taste which was comprised of a delicious flavor composition, this bagel was also disappointingly cold.

The cost for the three bagels was $5.72 — despite the bagels supposedly costing $1.10 each, according to this official menu of Bronx Bagels. I find that $2.42 for taxes rather steep to believe, as that would place the sales tax rate at greater than 42 percent. I left a gratuity of one dollar primarily because of the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, knowing that workers in the dining profession are having a difficult time — but it really was not worth it.

As I arrived at Bronx Bagels later in the day, I wondered what the products would be like at the time of opening for business — plus, I wanted to try a bialy, which was only available for sale on weekends. I decided to return three days later on a Sunday morning at 7:00.

The Second Visit to Bronx Bagels

Giving Bronx Bagels a second chance, I took my place in the short line outside at 6:59 in the morning on a Sunday. Ten minutes later, I arrived at the small window.

“I would like to order a bialy,” I said.

“We don’t have any bialys,” the man behind the window replied.

Strike one.

I was both disappointed and angry, as the person — and the menu — both lied about bialys being available during the weekend. The last I remember, Sunday was a legitimate part of the weekend. The only explanation I can figure is that Bronx Bagels goes by the Muslim weekend of Thursday night through Saturday night.

“Please give me your hottest plain bagel,” I then said.

I took the white bag back to my car and tore it to create a makeshift plate with it.

Bronx Bagels

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

The bagel was fresh; but it was lukewarm at best.

Once again, so much for their “hottest” bagels.

Strike two.

Bronx Bagels

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

I tore open the bagel. Because it was lukewarm, the texture was better than that of the cold plain bagel during my first visit…

…but I was charged $2.29 for this bagel, which was supposed to be $1.10 plus tax. Was I charged $1.19 — or greater than 108 percent — for sales tax? As expensive as New York can be, even bagel establishments there do not charge greater than 108 percent sales tax on bagels.

Strike three. Bronx Bagels, you are out with a genuine Bronx cheer from this Brooklynite.

Alternative to Bronx Bagels

Head on over to virtually any Publix supermarket in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area if you want a genuine New York bagel — or, for that matter, genuine New York bialy — experience. Go to the frozen food aisle where other frozen bread products are located and look for Ray’s New York Bagels, which are available in plain and everything flavors.

bagel

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

When I first saw Ray’s New York Bagels, I thought that I never heard of them or this brand and initially dismissed it as an imitation product which attempted to capitalize on being New York style…

bagel

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

…until I turned the package of six bagels on its side. The bagels are manufactured by Bagels By Bell LTD, which is where I purchased my bagels and bialys in Brooklyn before Warren Bell moved the company to Oceanside on Long Island in New York — and I documented the visit of the facility of Bagels By Bell in this article pertaining to the authentic New York bialy and the authentic New York bagel.

bialy

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

You can also purchase a box of six authentic New York bialys in the same frozen food case at Publix — and yes, they are also manufactured by Bagels By Bell LTD.

bialy

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Summary

Each package of Ray’s New York bagels or bialys cost $4.69 — sometimes they are on sale for $3.69 — and each of the six bagels or bialys is smaller than their counterparts in New York, so the bagels are not as large as those sold by Bronx Bagels…

…but they are still a better deal than Bronx Bagels — at least, by my experience.

Bronx Bagels

These are the two receipts which show that I was overcharged both times for my purchases of four bagels in total. Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Sadly, I must state that I do not recommend Bronx Bagels. Why I was grossly overcharged both times for cold products is something I cannot understand, as I was charged a total of $8.01 for four bagels — which does not include the gratuity of one dollar. Also, to state that something is sold on a certain day — only to arrive and find out that is not true — is unacceptable. Additionally, simply picking up a bagel quickly is not an option.

Bronx Bagels is located approximately 30 miles north of Atlanta off of Exit 12 of Georgia State Highway 400.

Bronx Bagels
770 McFarland Parkway
Alpharetta, Georgia 30004
Open Monday through Friday: 6:00 in the morning through 2:00 in the afternoon
Open Saturday through Sunday: 7:00 in the morning through 2:00 in the afternoon
770-475-1818

All photographs ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

7 thoughts on “Review: Does Bronx Bagels Really Have New York Bagels in Georgia?”

  1. Steven Hager says:

    The bagels were fair by my New York standard. I’m from Long Island, (Merrick,Bellmore,Huntington). I did find a Pizza place in Conyers, called Johnny’s New York Style Pizza. Pretty good, almost close to NY pizza, but their garlic knots are to die for. In NY we would say “ya Know! It’s like saying Krystal’s in like White Castle (not the frozen ones) similar, but no cigar.
    Maybe it’s the high chlorine taste in the local water.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I used to bring bagels and bialys to family members in Long Island because they preferred the ones from Brooklyn, Steven Hager.

      As for pizzerias in the greater Atlanta area, the winner hands down for me is Peace Love and Pizza:

      https://peaceloveandpizza.com/

      Even though I disclaim that I know the founders of Peace Love and Pizza, that does not mean that I would automatically recommend their pizzas — which they never claim is New York style. I was quite hesitant about trying their pizzas; and they are as close to New York style as I have ever had outside of the greater New York metropolitan area.

      By the way, the crusts of their pizzas sometimes remind me of bialys.

  2. NB_ga says:

    I have frequented BBs… albeit back in the day when the very crowded dining room was open. I usually enjoyed my everything bagel but, as a lifelong southerner, it never crossed my mind to expect it to be hot or even warm. That would have been a bonus as would trying the very appealing pumpernickel bagel pictured in your article. I have no idea what I paid for mine then but the pricing situation you faced would be quite troubling!
    That said, a friend introduced me to the Ray’s frozen bagels and bialys (my first bialy) several months ago and they are my go-to now. So happy to hear they get your Brooklyn-boy approval.
    Thanks for your review – curious to hear what else you find to enjoy in my home state.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      As I mentioned to Steven Hager, NB_ga, Peace Love and Pizza is quite close to New York style pizza.

      Publix supermarkets also carry an incomplete line of products by Ba-Tampte pickles, which are from Brooklyn:

      http://www.batamptepickle.com/

      Although they are authentic and are from Brooklyn, they are not quite like the sour and half-sour pickles you would find in a real Kosher delicatessen in New York.

      Ba-Tampte pickles can be found in the refrigerated section where other refrigerated pickles are located.

  3. NB_ga says:

    Wow! I am a big fan of PLP – especially their Peaceful Garden pizza. I am blessed to have one of these establishments not far from my house. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to sample the Ba-Tampte Garlic Dill pickles (compliments of the same friend) and must say they are divine. Now I want to travel to NY and try the “originals” to all these fine foods I have come to adore!

  4. Earl Jacobs says:

    “and each of the six bagels or bialys are smaller”
    ————————————-

    1) I caution you about calling out other’s grammar when you make such a simple mistake such as the subject/verb disagreement above. Each is singular, not plural.

    2) I strongly recommend that you look up the meaning of the word “which,” which you use ubiquitously, instead of the correct word: that. It is infrequent that, when used properly, the word “which” would be used without commas separating the non-defining clause it introduces from the rest of the sentence in which it is used. You habitually misuse the word “which.”

    I normally don’t point out grammar/syntax/spelling/punctuation; however, you seem to hold yourself in high esteem and yet you make very basic mistakes with the language.

    EJ

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you for taking the time to point out my grammatical errors, Earl Jacobs. I truly and sincerely appreciate it; and I corrected the sentence to “and each of the six bagels or bialys is smaller”. That was a sloppy error on my part.

      Nonetheless, I do not apologize at all for holding myself “in high esteem” pertaining to grammar because I know that my command of the English language is typically better than that of many other media outlets — especially considering that The Gate does not have a staff and I do virtually everything myself, from concept to writing to editing to photography.

      Moreover, I would like to think that I am permitted to commit the occasional mistake, as I am not perfect; and I always appreciate the opportunity to correct my errors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BoardingArea